CNBC's Top States For Business 2010—Top-Five Countdown

The odds are a lot better than any state lottery. One in 50 to win.

So, get ready for the top-five countdown of "America's Top States For Business" on CNBC Tuesday, July 13.

America's Top States for Business - A CNBC Special Report
America's Top States for Business - A CNBC Special Report

The 2010 countdown kicks off on "Squawk Box" at 8:00 a.m. ET, with Scott Cohn, senior correspondent and the survey's mastermind, reporting from an undisclosed location in the winning state.

Based on previous years, the winner won't be the only surprise. There's been plenty of movement within the top five thus far with each year providing at least one new member.

  • Complete 2010 Rankings

Beginning with that report, Cohn will reveal one of the top-five states roughly every two ours on a CNBC program, while tracks the progress on the home page.

No. 1 will be revealed at the end of the business day on "Closing Bell"and around 4:30 p.m.

We'll be giving you hints on the air and in this space for each of the five states before we reveal them. Once the identity is known, we'll explain the connection. Be advised, though; the hints are just a couple, few words and they're not easy.

No. 5—Massachusetts

The Bay State moves up from No. 8 in 2009. In piling up 1375 points this year, Massachusetts finished first in one category, second in another and third in yet one more. The state also just missed the top five in a fourth individual category. (Watch the video.)

As for that hint (Big Hill) we gave you? While Massachusetts is known as the Bay State, its name comes from an Algonquian word that loosely means "a big hill place."

No. 4—North Carolina

The Tar Heel State is arguably the most improved of the top-five states in 2010, moving from No. 9 to No. 4, with a total score of 1381 points.

The state has now made the top ten in each of CNBC's four America's Top States For Business surveys.

North Carolina made the top five in one individual category and the top ten in two others.

The Wright brothers made their first succesful flight from a makeshift runway near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, on December 17, 1903. It was quite a project. Thus the hint, project runway.

No 3—Colorado

The Centennial State takes the No. 3 spot for the second year in a row, and also improves its overall score by about 50 points (1456).

Colorado moved up from its 2009 rankings in six of the ten categories, including Workforce, Business Friendliness and Quality of Life.

The state, however slipped in the big-point category, Cost of Doing Business, as well as four others.

Colorado, by the way, containes 75 percent of the land area of the U.S. with an altitude over 10,000 feet. That's the connection to the hint about looking down at you.

No. 2—Virginia

They'll be no repeat for Virginia; No. 2 will have to do.

Virginia finished with 1,477 out of a possible 2,439 points, about 30 points behind the winner (to be announced in about an hour's time on Closing Bell).

As usual, so we can no longer say oddly, Virginia failed to win any of the ten individual categories. Few states, however, can boast of making the top 15, never mind the top 10, in so many categories.

On the negative side, Virginia finished in the bottom half in two categories: Cost of Doing Business and Cost of Living.

Virginia has been a business powerhouse for two centuries, which explains our clue about the reaper. Cyrus H. McCormick revolutionized agriculture with the invention of the reaper in Virginia, patented in 1834 (he moved his company to Chicago in 1847).

No. 1—Texas

The Lone Star State is alone at the top again.

For the second time in three years, Texas edged out Virginia, with a total score of 1508.

Texas moved up in three of the ten categories, while finishing first in two of them, including an impressive 270 out of 314 possible points in the Economy one.

The state also captured the No. 1-spot in Transportation & Infrastructure.

Texas is also the nation's top farm state, which explains our final hint. It has the largest number of farms, 247,437; and the most farmland, 130.4 million acres.

If you already knew that, then try our special quiz. And don't foregt to vote in our poll.

Complete Rankings: 2009 20082007